Google launches open-source project for Cardboard VR viewer

GOOGLE MAY HAVE given up on Daydream View - its fabric virtual reality headset for Pixel phones - but it's not ready to pull the plug on its Cardboard VR platform just yet.

Like a lot of tech companies, Google was once bullish on the budding potential of VR. Cardboard was revolutionary in the way it empowered VR experiences with nothing but, well, a makeshift cardboard headset with special lenses. Perhaps realising that it's no longer the best evangelist for a format it's quietly abandoned, the company has chose to open source everything Cardboard related, letting others pick up the pieces instead.

Previously, Google made the technical specifications of the physical Cardboard "headset" available for anyone to download.

The Cardboard SDK is open to developers on both Android and iOS and supports motion tracking, stereoscopic rendering and user interaction via the viewer button. If the open source Cardboard becomes successful, it will hopefully encourage Google to also open source Daydream to at least keep mobile VR from going extinct.

An Android QR code library has also been included, Google said, pointing out that it will mean apps can be paired with any Cardboard viewer without the need for the Cardboard app. In a developers blog, Google says that it will continue to contribute to the project by adding new features. Now Google seems to be stirring things up a bit by trying to breathe new life into Google Cardboard, mostly be handing off its upkeep to the open source community.

You can check out Cardboard VR's developer documentation here, and find the GitHub code repository here.

This neglect is acknowledged by Chan in the blog post, but the company wants to keep it alive as a low-priced VR solution for those who can't go dropping £400 on an Oculus Quest at the drop of a hat.